Somalia: Al-Shabab says blast killed 30 Ethiopian soldiers

Somalia
By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
The Ethiopian soldiers were travelling from Beledweyne to a border town at the time of the blast [File photo]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group Al-Shabab said Monday it has killed at least 30 Ethiopian soldiers in an explosion in central Somalia, Garowe Online reports.

In a statement posted on its affiliated websites, the extremists announced that they used a remote-controlled landmine to attack a military convoy carrying Ethiopian troops outside Beledweyne.

The remote-controlled roadside bomb struck the convoy as it left Beleweyne and en route to Kalabeyr, located near Somalia's border with Ethiopia, according to the local residents.

"We heard a huge explosion at El-Gal area, situated approximately 20 Kilometers east of Beledweyne, and followed by a heavy exchange of gunfire shortly before noon," said a villager, speaking to Garowe Online by phone on condition of anonymity.

Monday's IED attack took place in the town of El-Gal, which lies in the Hiraan region of central Somalia, about 300km north of the country's capital Mogadishu.

There were independent sources confirming Al-Shabab's claim of the death toll.

Last month, Ethiopia’s air force said it killed about 70 al-Shabab extremists in an airstrike in an undisclosed location in neighboring Somalia.

Ethiopian troops who are serving with the UN-mandated AU Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] have been battling Al-Shabaab since their invasion of the country in 2006.

The AU mission has not yet commented on the incident.

Despite losing territory to the Somali government forces backed by AMISOM, al-Shabab has continued to pose a threat to the stability of the Horn of Africa country.

GAROWE ONLINE